While I was cutting the fat off some raw chicken breasts last night (good way to start a post, right?), once again having to refuse Mason’s request to come play with her, she asked a very insightful question. “Why do mommies ALWAYS have to cook dinner?” At first, I was taken aback by her question, but then I realized this was a perfect teachable moment.
You see, in our family, I do most of the cooking. To some that might seem sexist and stereotypical, but to me, it’s just the way things go in our house. And I don’t mind it one bit. I love cooking dinner. I love baking more, and I do that plenty too, but I really do enjoy cooking dinner and seeing smiling faces and expressions of gratitude when a delicious meal is served. I saute, I grill, I broil… I cook.
I said most of that to Mason to explain it. I told her that I really like to cook, which is why I do it. I explained that there are many daddies that do all the cooking because they love it or because their situation at home makes it easier for them to do it. For us, her daddy works until 6pm every night and sometimes longer. If we waited for dinner to be started when he finally got home, we wouldn’t be eating until 7pm or later, which just doesn’t work with our evening schedule. At one point, Mason tried to walk away from my explanation (I guess she got bored), but I called her back because I really wanted her to understand that mommies don’t ALWAYS have to cook dinner and that it isn’t that way in all families. I think she understood. I hope she understood.
There are many times while I’m doing my stereotypical wifely duties at home that I worry what my kids are learning from that. I do most of the cooking. I also do most of the cleaning. Jeremy does help, especially in the de-cluttering, and I am very grateful when he does. But I’m a lot more picky about how clean our house is, so I’m the neurotic one who has to vacuum on a daily basis or has to quickly dust before any visitor shows up. On the other side, Jeremy does most of the yard work. He does the yucky stuff that I don’t want to do. He cleans out clogged drains; he cleans up water in the basement; he builds sheds; he trims trees. And most important of all, he gets my kids and me to laugh and giggle on a daily basis.
From the descriptions of our roles above, you’d think we were a family of the 1950’s. But the reality is that we work together to accomplish everything. Sure, there are times I get frustrated and wish Jeremy could read my mind and do things exactly when I want them done. But we get through it. We make it work. And that’s what I want my kids to learn and understand. It doesn’t matter who does what as long as the mom and dad agree on it and work together to get everything done.
So even though we have our divided mommy and daddy roles that are exasperating the stereotype, I hope that my kids can see that we work as a team to keep our house clean, our bellies full, our yard trimmed, and our hearts happy.